Best WordPress Companies in 2017

WordPress

WordPress

What can the platform that represents 26.4% of the top 10 million most popular websites do for you?

What Is WordPress?

Unless you have been living under a rock you will have surely heard about the powerful blogging platform WordPress. We say “blogging” but the sophisticated software that was first released in 2003 is much more than a tool to write simple online entries. It quickly became a full blown content management system (CMS) and is now one of the most popular of its kind on the web today. If you are looking to develop a website for your business or virtually any other conceivable purpose, WordPress is definitely a framework worth considering.

As an advanced (yet user-friendly) CMS, it takes away the need for understanding how to code web pages, giving you core functionality out of the box. You can create pages and posts from within simple text editors in the admin area, and the look and feel of the site is governed by themes that you can install at the click of a mouse and easily manipulate. There’s an endless supply of free themes and premium themes provided by the enthusiastic community, but of course if you want to promote your own unique brand you may want to hire a designer to work with your developers to create something from scratch, so you can stand out in the crowd.

The features of your WordPress based website will mostly come from plugins, which again are in almost endless supply, many free and some paid for. These are also installed at the click of a mouse and can be easily implemented in to your posts and pages. Want to run a survey? No problem, install a survey plugin and use the widget or embed code to place it on to a page. Want your pages to be automatically optimized for search engines? Then grab an SEO plugin and go through the simple settings step by step. Want something exclusive to your site, then hire some WordPress developers to create the plugin for you. The possibilities are endless.

Who Uses WordPress?

The growing popularity of WordPress is a testament to its simplicity and versatility. From your neighbour’s personal blog to The Wall Street Journal, it’s proven time and time again that it can suit almost anybody’s needs. The NFL website is powered by WordPress, so is PlayStation, UPS, General Motors, Time magazine online, Mercedes Benz, and Coca Cola.

And it’s not just brands and content rich sites that utilize WordPress. It’s functionality can also be expanded to create powerful eCommerce businesses. There are multiple plugins that can accomplish this to varying degrees, but the post popular and feature rich is WooCommerce, which currently powers around 30% of all online stores! This includes Blue Star Coffee, The Spectator Magazine Shop, Wakami clothing brand, Porter and York meat brand, the Jack Rudy Cocktail company, and many others. Granted, you aren’t going to find Amazon powered by WordPress, but there’s no reason why the next Amazon can’t be.

You can easily add and manage products, their photos and descriptions, use a standard basket and checkout system, take subscriptions, bookings and offer digital downloads, connect with all the leading payment platforms, provide support, and do it all in a mobile friendly environment.

Do I Need An Expert To Develop My WordPress Site?

Although WordPress is beginner friendly, if you have a big project or business idea in mind it is a good idea to hire a professional to develop your site to the highest standard. These experts can be found as individuals on Freelancer sites, or you may wish to approach a speciality WordPress development company or agency, with a history of developing such sites. Larger firms, like software development companies might also have a WordPress division (especially when it comes to advanced plugins).

What Types of WordPress Development Services Are There?

While a WordPress development company may be able to handle every aspect of your project, from installation to designing a theme, some may only provide specific services or break each one down in to separate products. Broadly speaking there are three core wordpress website development services available: Plugin Development, Theme Development, and General Maintenance and Support.

Plugin Development:

The core WordPress files are the framework from which wordpress development companies build on. Any extra features and functionality on top of what’s available on a clean install is accomplished through the development of plugins or modifying existing files. Depending on the purpose of your website and the features it requires, you may be able to get by just fine with the thousands of free and premium plugins available. These are installed with the click of a mouse from the admin area. However if you need something special accomplished, you may consider hiring a wordpress plugin development company or Freelancer to make you a plugin from scratch. Depending on the complexity of the plugin this may be created with PHP, JavaScript, CSS and other coding languages supported by the CMS.

For example a plugin could simply be written to display business testimonials at random whenever a page is loaded. An advanced plugin might implement a full blown customer support system with tickets and a knowledge base. Your WordPress development company will let you know their limitations and the limitations of WordPress itself when it comes to adding functionality.

Theme Development:

Your WordPress theme is chosen within the admin area and dictates the general look and feel of your website, such as the color scheme, page and post layout, sidebar, header logo, footer, font and text style, and some of the functionality.

A clean install will provide you with a few basic themes to choose from and there are also thousands of free and premium themes online to suit various types of website. For example there are many different themes to cater to news based websites, portfolios and galleries, business information sites and so on. However if you are building a new business or promoting your existing brand, you will probably desire something truly unique that represents your image and isn’t comparable to anybody else online. This is where you would buy a theme development package from an agency or hire WordPress themes developers on a freelance basis. They will have experience in both web design and the WordPress platform itself and will create a brand new theme based on your requirements. This will be done with a combination of PHP, CSS and HTML coding.

Most modern WordPress themes come with multiple options, so if you want to change the color or layout (but still keep most of the theme in tact) you can do this from the admin panel.

General Maintenance:

Whether it’s installing WordPress on your server or hosting plan, carrying out updates, installing plugins, making changes to the theme, fixing errors, or changing settings and options from the admin panel, beginners may need to hire an expert to maintain their WordPress based website. They will be proficient in all areas of using WordPress and its plugins, but won’t necessarily be able to develop themes or plugins from scratch. Depending on your hosting plan such a service may be provided to you for free or for a small fee. However you can also turn to a WordPress development company to handle all your WordPress needs as well.

Where Can I Hire WordPress Development Companies?

Regardless of your budget there are many options out there for hiring WordPress developers. Who you hire will depend on the type of development you require (see above), how large your project is, and whether you will require ongoing maintenance.

Legitimate developers in this field will be able to handle PHP, CSS, JavaScript, and MySQL, and will know their way around a web server or typical web hosting environment. They will also know the ins and outs of every setting and option in the WordPress admin area, and be able to solve common technical errors and site glitches. Some will be capable of creating custom themes and plugins for you from scratch, that work smoothly and can be easily managed by other developers or you and your staff. Here are the common categories of WordPress developers for hire:

Freelancers:

A Freelancer is usually an individual (but can also be a collective) who you can find through third party freelancer websites like Upwork, Toptal or Guru.com, or on a wordpress developers forum. You will need to register as a client/buyer on these sites and will be able to browse their database of freelancers based on their skills. You will obviously want to narrow it down so you can find a freelance wordpress developer. They will have a public portfolio of past work, qualifications and skills and reviews and ratings from other clients. Once you have found a reputable option you can reach out to them and negotiate a rate or fixed price. You can also list your project and freelancers can contact you. Freelancer forums are much the same, but you might need to start or reply to a thread to get things started. Hiring a freelancer is often the most affordable option for WordPress development.

Outsourcing Agencies:

Unlike freelancer sites WordPress outsourcing agencies like Codeable.io and WP Hired specialize specifically in WordPress development services. They aim to handpick the best of the best freelancers, testing their skills before adding them to the talent pool. The process typically involves registering an account, posting your requirements and then reviewing WordPress experts until you’ve found one ideal to hire. Like freelance sites, these individuals will have various statistics to back up their skills (such as the number of projects they have completed, years of experience, and user star ratings). The best thing about using an outsourcing agency is that they are specifically tailored to WordPress and every expert available will meet a high basic standard of skill.

Small WordPress Agencies:

Another option is to approach a small WordPress website development company. This might be as part of their broader web development services (they may also have magento services and others for example), but some focus on WordPress exclusively. They will usually have a list of services available, portfolio of clients and past work, testimonials, and either a price guide or the ability to generate a quote. They will typically be made up of a permanent team of experts that specialize in various areas of WordPress development and can take on a larger workload than a single freelancer.

Large Agencies:

If you have a particularly big project and budget you may seek out a large and well regarded agency. These will have portfolios of clients that represent well known brands and have a vast team of qualified experts to handle many different clients at one time. WordPress development will usually be just one aspect of what they offer (for example they might also have Joomla developers) and they may also be able to provide professional branding and marketing solutions as well.

Do It Yourself:

Of course if you don’t have money to spend on a WordPress development company or your project is more of a hobby, there’s no reason why you can’t setup and manage your WordPress site yourself. The official WordPress website is full of tutorials and information on every aspect of the platform, and a quick Google for “how to do X in WordPress” will return articles and videos guiding you through the process. Furthermore the vast majority of plugins have instructions and support information, so if you spend some time learning you can easily get the hang of what to do. If you wish to develop plugins and themes from scratch you will however have to take the time to learn PHP, CSS, HTML and other coding languages. This is not advised for beginners who are planning to take their brand online or launch a business.

How Do I Find The Best WordPress Development Companies?

There is no hard and fast rule for finding the so called best WordPress developers, but employing some common sense will help you avoid scammers and those who are under-qualified. Your first port of call is right here at Skilled.co and our comprehensive database of web developer reviews. Simply look for those rated the highest and you’re guaranteed to get a good service.

Of course doing some of your own research is important and Googling for example “wordpress development company India” is a good way to start your search. At the least a freelancer or company should clearly state their abilities and offer examples of past work, so you can see that they know what they’re doing. A company that has other options (such as Magento development services) suggests they have a well trained team.

One of the benefits of freelancer sites is you can see ratings from other clients and sometimes verified qualifications and test results.

How Much Do WordPress Design and Development Services Cost?

The cost of hiring a WordPress developer can vary greatly depending on the size and scope of your project, whether you’re hiring a single freelancer or using a small or large agency, whether you need ongoing maintenance, and if you require plugins and themes developed from scratch (i.e. custom wordpress development).

On freelancer sites like Upwork you can find a highly rated WordPress expert with hourly rates between $30 and $80. Smaller agencies may be able to create a basic and professional looking WordPress site for a few thousands dollars (without ongoing maintenance), whereas large agencies carrying out advanced projects can reach the hundreds of thousands.

Then you must consider any premium themes (up to $100) and plugins. Other costs to consider include the server space or web hosting plan which will house your website, the yearly fee for the domain name (not usually more than $15), and the payment of staff to work on the site.

Compared to having your site completely engineered from scratch, using WordPress as the CMS will definitely save you a lot of money on development as the platform itself is open source and free. All you need is a compatible server (that allows PHP and MySQL databases).

Here is a breakdown of the rough average costs you might expect to pay:

Premium WordPress Theme: $60 to $100

WordPress Theme Development Services: $500 to $6,000

Premium Plugins: Up to $40 per plugin

Basic Custom Plugin: $500 to $3,000

Advanced Web App: $15,000 Plus

The Full Works: $6,000 to $100,000 Plus

Remember that if your website is to succeed you shouldn’t be apprehensive about choosing the best solution (budget dependent). If you genuinely need a full custom service, with a theme and plugins created exclusively for you, then don’t try to cut corners. Likewise if you aims can be met with free or premium options then don’t overspend for the sake of it.

Is Search Engine Optimization Available From WordPress Development Companies?

Even newbies to websites will have heard of search engine optimization (SEO), the process of ensuring web pages can be indexed and ranked by search engines like Google, especially for keywords related to the business or subject of the site.

WordPress itself is fairly well optimized out of the box and you will almost certainly be picked up by search engines soon after your site goes live. There are also free and paid SEO plugins that can be installed to ensure each page and post is as fine tuned as possible.

A WordPress development firm will not necessarily have experts in SEO and it’s rare that they would offer specific SEO services as part of a package. However they will certainly be able to install and manage existing SEO plugins and leverage WordPress’ default options to make your site more search engine friendly.

Fortunately Google is well versed in the way WordPress functions and will not have a problem finding, crawling and indexing your website.

How Do I Become A WordPress Developer?

Whether you’re a beginner looking to learn the basics so you can setup your own site or a whiz who already runs WordPress sites and wants to make some money doing it for others, becoming a WordPress expert can be fun and rewarding.

You do not necessarily have to have any qualifications to enter the field, but learning coding languages like PHP and JavaScript through a traditional route will help you build a solid foundation and reassure clients of your abilities.

If you are a beginner you can attend a local WordPress development course or take one online. They won’t necessarily be accredited by any formal institution, but having the skills and being able to demonstrate them is half the battle. You can also learn wordpress development by following a WordPress development tutorial online. Tutorials exist for virtually any aspect of WordPress. A simple Google for “x WordPress tutorial” will return thousands of helpful results. You can also take the old fashioned route and order a good old WordPress development book from Amazon or web developer site.

WordPress Developer Job Description:

While you can always specialize in a certain area (such as a wordpress design service) a WordPress developer is generally expected to be able to install and manage the core WordPress installation in any compatible environment, and understand and work with PHP, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and MySQL. For the true developer title (i.e. not just an expert who can maintain and fix a WordPress site), you must also be able to create and test your own themes and plugins to client specifications in a wordpress development environment.

WordPress Developer Salary:

According to national salary data, a web developer with wordpress as a skill can make close to $50,000 a year. Many WordPress developers however will work as freelancers and won’t have a set salary. You can charge up to $80 an hour on freelancer sites like Upwork if you’re in the top percentile of freelancers. The amount you can earn will vary depending how broad your skills are. For example a theme designer will earn more if they can also develop plugins. You may also want to branch out in to other platforms, such as offering Drupal development services as well.

WordPress developer jobs are also available at wordpress development companies where you may be offered a fixed wage.

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